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Ju-Kenya Bolden’s Story

BEFORE MY TRANSFORMATION

Before my transformation, I was a very depressed, miserable woman with low self-esteem in an unfulfilling marriage. Although I didn’t show it publicly, privately I was struggling. I thought I had a cute face, but I didn’t like how big I was. People always would say, “You wear your weight well!” (I never understood that.) Being 305 pounds brought its health issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, borderline diabetes, swelling and so much more. One night I was lying in bed and I felt as if I were having a heart attack. I figured if I had died, no one would have found me until the next day. I prayed to God and asked for His help, to let me live, and I promised Him I would take charge of my health. That was in June 2017.

MY GOAL

My goal was to lose 100 pounds, get off the high blood pressure meds, be able to tuck my shirt in my pants with a belt without my stomach hanging over and just be healthy and able to walk from my car to my destination without being out of breath by the time I got there.

WHAT I DID

For about four years, my pastor, Overseer Shirley Ard, and I have worked a prayer that we pray every Monday: “Lord help us to eat what’s healthy and necessary for our bodies, and help us to exercise.” Little did I know I would embody that statement. In June of 2017, I changed the way I looked at food; I was an emotional eater. I decided I would eat the foods that loved me, so I cut out bread, fried foods, red meat, pasta and sweets. In July, I got a personal trainer and worked with him four days a week.

All of this was grueling, but I realized I had to do it for my life’s sake. I had to realize I was worth it. With the personal trainer, I lost 30 pounds in eight months. I thought that was amazing. Little did I know my whole entire life was about to change.

After I didn’t have a personal trainer anymore, I tried walking on the beach, Zumba and just going to the gym. That just wasn’t enough. In March of 2018, I joined Fitlife Studios, run by Joe and Rebeca Barker, and this was the game-changer.

I had always wanted a workout partner, and I got a “Fit-family.” We hold each other accountable for eating and working out; the accountability is everything. My routine stayed the same, starting at 5 a.m. four times a week. The workouts are grueling, but the results are phenomenal.

A month after joining fitness camp, I had a breast cancer scare. I prayed to God — and others did with me — yet again for guidance. I promised if He would just not let the diagnosis be true, I would eat however and whatever He told me.

I became a vegan, and two months after the doctors saw what they saw (on June 7), I had a biopsy that showed there was no cancer. Today, I still am a vegan.

HOW IT WORKED

Working out four days a week and eating clean became my new normal. Four days became five, then six, then every day of the week. I have completed four 90-day challenges (90 days straight with no days off from working out) and four Trim the Tribe challenges (30 days each) with my mentor Raymond Torregano, in which I was the first and third MVP. With all of theses challenges and being a vegan, I have lost 115 pounds total.

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE

The most difficult part was my mindset; it had to change. I had to change the way I felt about myself and how I saw my myself. I had to push past the loss of loved ones, children being incarcerated, a failing marriage and just the of feeling of, “Is this really going to work without surgery or diet pills?” It was hard some mornings because I had to fight past the voices telling me it wasn’t working and that I was doing all of this for nothing. I was doing everything right, and the weight was coming off only five to seven pounds at a time per month; that was discouraging. Then one month, it jumped to 13 pounds and has been coming off consistently ever since.

HOW I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF TODAY

The way I feel about myself today is what I call unstoppable. I have a favorite superhero, and her name is Wonder Woman. My health is the best it’s been in my grown life. I see life through different eyes now. I’m living life like it’s golden. I’m not depressed anymore, and I went from dying to living, low self-esteem to confident. I went from “I can’t” to “I can, and I will.” I went from wearing a size 3x to a small-medium, and a size 22-24 to an 8-10. I feel amazing! My mission now is to inspire and motivate others that they can do this, too.

MY ADVICE TO OTHERS

If you can imagine it, it can be your reality. Don’t think little — think big. Know that you are worth it. Make yourself your first priority. Love yourself, never quit and always remember — it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you will reach the finish line.

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